Large Scale (eg billboards) graphics?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by dornoforpyros, Jul 17, 2006.

  1. dornoforpyros macrumors 68040

    dornoforpyros

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    #1
    Hey, anyone here have any experience in doing up large scale graphics like banners & billboards?

    I've got some projects coming up at work starting with 2' x 6' banners and eventually going up to 10' x 20' billboards. I've done lots of magazine ads and brochures at this point, but I'm honestly not quite sure what specs to use for such large scale projects.
    300 dpi CMYK? Or do I need to go higher (or lower)?

    Any tips anyone can provide would be great.
     
  2. Lau Guest

    #2
    Is there any way you can talk to the printer? They would probably be able to give you the most accurate information depending on the job. A friend of mine does a lot of banners, and weirdly, some of them have to be in RGB.
     
  3. tobefirst macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

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    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #3
    I've done a couple large format things for the hospital I work for, and both of those have been setup at 1/2 the length and 1/2 the width at 300 dpi (CMYK). I agree with Lau, however, you should talk to the printer to find out what specs they will be using, including how large of a bleed you need.
     
  4. dornoforpyros thread starter macrumors 68040

    dornoforpyros

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    Calgary, AB
    #4
    Yeah I'm gonna talk to the printer when we get to that point. I'm just looking to get a bit of information before hand just so it's not completely over my head when I do talk to em.
     
  5. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #5
    Inkjets for banners (acrylic or otherwise) tend to be handled just as easily in RGB as CMYK but many output bureaus prefer RGB... what we call pull-up or ACE banners here in London are about 2m x 1m and are usually done at 50% only because some page-layout apps can't create a document of that size. I tend to do the images at 250-300ppi for a printed resolution of 125-150ppi for those.

    As far as billboards go, you can work with continuous-tone images anywhere between 250-400ppi depending on the eventual ratio of scaling up. Of course, you don't view these pieces at the same distance as you would a brochure so after scaling an eventual resolution of 35-72ppi is OK, especially when when you get to billboards. If you look at the halftone rose of these large items like 24-sheets, they can be extremely coarse...

    Billboard artwork tends to be done in CMYK. If you're using InDesign and you're producing similar pieces for different formats from similar artwork, you can stay in an RGB workflow (ensuring that you stay within a CMYK gamut) and produce CMYK PDFs directly from InDesign.

    Hope that's of some help.

    Edit: Also, one other thing to bear in mind and from my own experience, is that some of the older RIPs used for large-scale inkjets are not happy with handling files with transparency so go easy with that if that is an issue. As always, talk to your repro people.
     
  6. supremedesigner macrumors 6502a

    supremedesigner

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    Location:
    Gainesville, Fl
    #6
    I am curious about this. Please let me know the update. RGB? What size? Etc. TIF or AI or JPG format?
     
  7. NoNameBrand macrumors 6502

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    Nov 17, 2005
    Location:
    Halifax, Canada
    #7
    The billboards I've done (both vinyl and paper, 20 different ones in total), have been 20'x10' (w x h), 25dpi - which works out to be a 300dpi 20"x10" image.

    I sent CMYK TIFF files to the printer.
     
  8. supremedesigner macrumors 6502a

    supremedesigner

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    Gainesville, Fl
    #8
    Just 25dpi, not 250 or 72? Wow. That's interesting.
     
  9. NoNameBrand macrumors 6502

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    Nov 17, 2005
    Location:
    Halifax, Canada
    #9

    It's 20 feet wide and viewed from the road/highway. Hold up your hand to a billboard when you drive by (as a passanger, perhaps? don't kill anyone if you're driving). I think you'll find it's comparable to something you'd view at arm's length that would be printed at 300dpi.

    Some of the billboards have used source images that I had to blow up in Photoshop, so essentially started at 12.5 dpi (and looked fine).
     
  10. Lebowski macrumors 6502

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    Oct 10, 2005
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #10

    if the entire design is a vector file, then i would keep it AI or EPS, as it can be scaled to any size and maintain perfect res.

    generally i like to work with tiffs, and keep my work in RGB for the printers i deal with. I show them a proof, so they have a color reference as well.

    if you are gonna be blowing it up to large sizes, i would start with a high res. i would start with 600 or higher (1200 is good) then you always have plenty of quality for upsizing.
     
  11. ATD macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    #11
    I have done a lot of outdoor (billboards). There is no hard and fast rules but it is generally the companies will give it as a scale of the full size, like 1/2 inch = 1 foot @ 300ppi. That means if you are doing a 14'x48' billboard the art would be 7" x 24" @ 300ppi (or 12.5 ppi at full size). If you want to go higher, I would not go over 25 ppi, it's a waste of time. Many billboard are printed at 9 dots per inch (last time I heard anyway).


     
  12. evoluzione macrumors 68020

    evoluzione

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
    down the road, that's where i'll always be
    #12
    it's different for almost every printer from what i understand. i did some scans for a 110' billboard (picture of it can be seen by clicking the enhanced link at evonyc.com and if i remember correctly, they were 20dpi. which still makes it a 360MB file.

    you really have to speak to the printer on these jobs...i do find that they are usually more than happy to help you, as it only makes their job easier in the long run.
     
  13. dornoforpyros thread starter macrumors 68040

    dornoforpyros

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    #13
    ahh cool

    So general you work smaller and then the image is scaled up to the proper size. That's pretty much what I needed to know since I figured I wasn't going to be creating 20' files.

    thanks everyone
     
  14. ATD macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    #14

    Layout programs like Quark won't let you make a file that big anyway, it maxs at 48" so you have to work in scaled images.


     
  15. zero2dash macrumors 6502a

    zero2dash

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    Location:
    Fenton, MO
    #15
    I always use Illustrator to create oversized artwork; it has a page size max of 200" x 200". In addition, considering that you're creating the artwork in a vector format, you can resize 'til you're blue in the face and you won't lose any quality. :)

    I'd recommend creating the project to size, 100%. Most printers want CYMK files; the several oversize color printers I have experience with (HP DesignJets) all have 6 ink tanks - CYMK + 2 lighter shades. If you have to use a raster image, you shouldn't use anything but a TIF/TIFF, otherwise with vector art, AI, EPS, or even PDF is ok (just be sure if you use a PDF that you're not downsampling the image).
     

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